Many people assume that this is a book all about love and courtship. That comes into it, of course, but really only the sense that Jane Austen is blowing an enormous raspberry to the way society did those things.
‘Pride and Prejudice’ is full of delicious snark and subversive humour, parody and caricature, that make its observations far more rapier than romantic.
Of course, Mr Darcy is smolderingly handsome and, as an introvert, I totally get that he was regretting being dragged along to that party long before he even got there, and by the time he was offending all the locals, was busy trying to think of ways to leave without anyone noticing. Further evidence of that is found in the fact that he falls for the one brainy chick who is happy in her own company and reading a book without needing someone affirming her delicate sense of self every three minutes.
Elizabeth is smart and sassy enough to stand up for herself, and to not settle for the first nincompoop who tried to marry her, nor does she agree to marry Darcy just because he’s loaded. No, she is a woman of substance.
Those things are enough to make us love them both more than the rest of the characters, most of whom are either quite socially acceptably bland or rather horrid.
If you’re not sure where to find the sarcasm, it all starts with the very first line. Let’s be honest: what rich man, living the dream and enjoying his wealth, is desperate to find a wife to keep him at home and spend his money for him?
Anne taught me that it was a wonderful thing to love books and poetry more than anyone else I knew, and that it was better to be myself than to try to be someone else. She showed me how to embrace my quirks and to disregard the criticism of those made uncomfortable by them. This is a wonderful story, beautifully told, which I have loved since I first read it when I was seven years old. Yes, I was a prodigious reader even then, having started reading for myself at the age of three! Like Anne, I started out in the way I was destined to continue.
This vintage copy came to me courtesy of my favourite book rescue shelter, Spectrum Books in Warrnambool. It is the same vintage as the set I inherited from my mother although, sadly, her copy of ‘Anne of Green Gables’ has been lost.
I remember that her book had an original bookplate inside the front cover which she had drawn and painted before adding her name and the date. For me, that is the saddest part of losing her book: her art is lost, too. This is her work inside the cover of the sequel, ‘Anne of Avonlea’, which she received along with the first book for Christmas when she was thirteen years old. Her full name was named Shirley Anne – named after both Shirley Temple and Anne Shirley of ‘Green Gables’ fame.
I have always enjoyed Dickens’ knack for transporting the reader to the grimy streets of London, or to the interior of a neat little Victorian house, and have them understand exactly why they had been taken there. His imagery and characterisation are vivid and his wit is razor sharp.
I have several favourites among his novels, but ‘A Christmas Carol’ would have to be at the top of that list. In addition to its searing social criticism and powerful message about what actually matters in life, it is infused with some really well written macabre and Gothic horror scenes that have a profound effect on both Scrooge and the reader. It’s a short read with a huge impact.
Holy Toledo! It’s already the last day of April! I’m sure I can’t be the only one feeling as though the year is rushing by at unprecedented speed… can I?
Sadly, the end of April means it’s also the end of Poetry Month. I have really enjoyed sharing some of my favourite poems and poets with you all this month— something I may still do from time to time as the mood strikes me.
In May, I plan to balance the poetry by sharing my thoughts on some great classic novels. I won’t be working from a definitive “most popular” list: rather, my list is a highly subjective collection of personal favourites.
Of course, I will also continue to take the opportunity to share all those riveting highlights of my life— I never wake up expecting to be fascinating, but it just keeps on happening!— and to explore and discuss relevant points of interest for Indie authors as they come up, as I try to do.